No announcement yet.

How To Patch Your Site


  • How To Patch Your Site

    From time to time, it's necessary to issue a Security Patch (or Patch Level) release for vBulletin software. This differs from the normal upgrade routine so this short article will clarify exactly what needs to be done when we announce a Patch Level (PL) release.

    Download The Patch

    A Patch Level release doesn't come as a full set of files. As such, it doesn't appear in the normal download location. To access the Patch Release, first login to the vBulletin Members Area. In the left hand navigation, you will see the following:

    Members Area Navigation

    In the 'Support Services' section, click on the Patches/Security Patches link and you will see a screen showing all Patch Level releases for your Licenses:

    Patch Release List

    Simply click on the Patch for the version you're currently running and you will be taken to the download page, where you will be given options for how to download the Patch. The following options are available via the 'More Download Options' radio button should you need to change these before downloading the ZIP file (in the majority of cases, these will not need to be altered):
    • PHP File Extension - As a general rule, web servers will use .php as the extension for PHP scripts, but some servers may use a different extension, or you may simply wish to use a different extension out of your own preference. Various extensions are available here for you to choose.
    • Download File Format - This option allows you to choose the compression format of the package you are about to download. Most people will want to download the .zip package as Windows® has in-built support for zip files. However, if you are downloading the package directly to a Linux server you may prefer to use the tarball (.tar.gz) format.
    • CGI Shebang - This option will only be of use to you if your server runs PHP as a CGI rather than as a web server module. If your server runs PHP as a CGI and requires a shebang (such as #!/usr/bin/php) then you can enter the required text here and it will automatically be inserted into whichever PHP files in vBulletin require its use.

    When you have set the download options you can click the Download button to start the download. When the download prompt window appears, you should choose the Save option and choose a directory on your computer in which to save the package.

    Save your ZIP file

    Updating Files On Your Server

    With Patch Level releases, the preparation work is very small - simply extract the ZIP package to your local machine! Once you've done this, you will notice that there is no 'upload' folder. A Patch Level release only contains the files that are being fixed so you may see something like this when you open the ZIP file to extract it (screenshot shows vB4.0.4 PL1 contents):

    ZIP File Contents

    Before uploading these to your server, close your forums temporarily via:

    vB3.x: AdminCP > vBulletin Options > vBulletin Options > Turn Your vBulletin On and Off > Forum Active > 'No'
    vB4.x: AdminCP > Settings > Options > Turn Your vBulletin On and Off > Forum Active > 'No'

    It will also be a good idea at this point to take a backup of your site and database. While the database won't be updated with a Patch Level release, it's useful to have an up-to-date backup in any case. For more information on backing up your database, please see this section of the Online Manual.

    Connect to your FTP server and with the Patch Level files highlighted in the local pane and the existing old files in the remote pane, drag the new folders/files to the remote window.

    Upload Your Files

    You will most likely be prompted by the FTP client at this point to ask if you want to overwrite the existing files. You should confirm this prompt, telling the FTP client that yes, you do want to overwrite the existing files. If the prompt gives you the option to overwrite all existing files without prompting again, use this option.

    Once the files are uploaded, that's your installation patched! There are no scripts to run and you can re-open your forums to users again.
    Attached Files

    • Trevor Hannant
      Trevor Hannant commented
      Editing a comment
      To get vB support on these forums you first need to be a licensed customer and register for Priority Forum Support. To do this, please go here:

      ...and enter your email address in one of the boxes. You'll need to have your customer number and password to access the page.

      If you still have problems after doing this, send an email to Please include your user name, the email address you registered with and your customer number so we can fix the problem.

    • SB206
      SB206 commented
      Editing a comment
      How do I patch without losing custom configurations? I attempted to patched and it totally erased my headers and custom buttons and some pics. From 4.2.2 to 4.2.3

    • SB206
      SB206 commented
      Editing a comment
      I installed the 4.2.3 patch but CP still shows 4.2.2 patch 1 as most current version. did I make the install correct?
    Posting comments is disabled.

About the Author


Trevor Hannant Find out more about Trevor Hannant

Article Tags


advanced (5) android (2) api (29) array (17) beginner (17) blog (4) calendar (2) caution (1) cms (2) forum (3) forums (4) Intermediate (7) iphone (3) mapi (30) method (1) methods (10) mobile (34) moderation (1) posts (1) search (1) security (2) style (2) threads (4) vb5howto (5) vBulletin (5)

Latest Articles


  • Welcome to the new CMS. Read me first.
    by Don Kuramura
    Welcome to the new CMS. Here's a quick guide of the different areas of this page.

    1. Section Navigation Widget. This widget allows you to go to different sections. The "plus icon" means that this section has sub-sections. Clicking on the "plus icon" will display the sub-sections. ...
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 2:04pm
  • Promoting Articles from the Forums
    by Don Kuramura
    One of the innovative new features on vBulletin 4.0 Publishing Suite is the cross-publishing "Promote to Article" functionality. In the spirit of promoting content discovery, we wanted to create features that will allow content to flow between Forums, Blogs, and Articles. For example, there might be a really popular post in the forums, but unfortunately it is buried inside page 13 of a thread. We will now have an option (if you have permissions) to “promote” a forum (or blog) post as a new artic...
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 2:04pm
  • How to Create a New Article
    by Don Kuramura
    Here's a quick visual guide on how to create a new article with the CMS.

    1. Create New Article Button: Navigate to the section you want the article to be published in. Click on the “Create a New Article” button. This will open an article form.

    2. Article Title: In the "Add/Edit Article" screen, enter the title of your article in the “Title” textbox.
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 2:04pm
  • Managing CMS Section and Content
    by Don Kuramura
    Here's a quick Visual Guide on how Manage Sections in the new CMS.

    1. Editing a Section: If you have permissions to manage a Section, as you hover over the Section title, a pencil icon will display.

    After clicking the pencil icon, you will be taken to the Section Edit page. Here's what you will see:

    2. Section Name:
    Enter the Section Name
    3. SEO URL Alias: This is the SEO Friendly URL. By default, if this is blank, the system will automatically copy the section title.
    4. Section Layout: For each section you can define an individual section layout.
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 2:04pm
  • Recovering a hacked vBulletin Site
    by TheLastSuperman

    Having your site hacked is something no owner wants to experience due to the fact it takes quite a bit of effort to fix, often times requiring payment to a experienced third-party when a owner feels inundated by the sheer amount of work required to troubleshoot and remedy the situation.
    • Site has been defaced - This is the most blatant form of hacking where your sites pages have been replaced with a very disruptive and sometimes rude message from the hacker themselves.
    Tue 12th Jun '12, 1:37am
  • Issues After Upgrading
    by TheLastSuperman
    If your running a completely default forum upgrading is a very simple process. Many sites however run third-party add-ons and even use a custom style therefor when things change between older and newer
    Thu 24th May '12, 12:02pm